The leisure party manifesto
proposed: 17 Aug 2006
source: Paul Saffo
A specter is haunting the world - the
specter of leisure. All the great powers
have conspired against it: Popes and
presidents, bankers and unionists,
hamburger chains and environmentalists.
But, mighty as they are, they will soon
fail. Machines may exist solely to
produce, but humans are awakening from a
dark eon of drudgery to the dawning
realization that there is more to life
than work. Red Skelton recipe for the perfect
marriage. 1. Two times a week, we go to a nice restaurant, have a little beverage, good food and companionship. ... She goes on Tuesdays, I go on Fridays. 2. We also sleep in separate beds. [...]
We, the overworked, the
stressed-out, the weary, the jet-lagged,
declare that the Industrial Revolution
is over - and we have won!
time to declare the peace dividend.
In the age of thinking machines,
leisure is no longer a privilege - it is
a fundamental human right.
thousands of generations, work - dirty,
backbreaking, crippling work - has
controlled our existence. Apologists for
the status quo rationalize that toil is
humanity's natural fate and burden. But
lo, fellow workers who gather food,
erect elaborate shelters, and build
great civilizations - labor is not our
natural destiny. Inactivity is not a
When not working meant not
eating, when the tribe's survival was at
stake - those were the times for toil.
The genesis of intelligent machines
should have freed us to enjoy life, but
in our fear of obsolescence we haven't
heeded nature's imperative for leisure.
Instead, we stagger on, punching
buttons, making copies, renting our
brains for the fool's gold of
ever-greater consumption. Is this our
birthright - we, the mighty creators of
robot factories, electronic brains, and
the virtual civilizations of our
Do not lions lounge?
Do not gulls drift effortlessly on the
winds? Do not dolphins play endlessly in
the oceans? Are we less deserving than
our fellow creatures to partake of the
joys of life and the wonders of the
planet and human society?
We do not
seek to overthrow the system but,
rather, to underthrow it.
We do not
advocate resistance; we counsel
surrender - surrender to your own
intuitive sense of what your body and
soul need; to your innate right to
sloth. We call not for sacrifice, but
for indulgence - indulgence of our need
for greater fulfillment through play and
Leisure is not a
promise that makes us press our noses to
the grindstone; it is a basic human
right. To work for the vague hope of a
short respite is criminal extortion. We
will achieve the leisure we deserve only
when we change our priorities and live
the revolution of the deed. Our debt of
leisure constantly mounts, but do we ask
for our due? Do we realize what we're
Take a nap! Carpe otium!
You've earned it.
Leisure is the
new currency and your credit has no
limit. Relaxation, in its purest form,
is an essential component of human
creativity. It is the yin to society's
Wake to the dawning
of the age of leisure! Machines have
made the need to work obsolete. To
continue on is folly. Grab a chair, sit
back, and claim what is rightfully
yours. Leisure. There is no substitute.
You have nothing to lose but your
slavery to the opiate of busyness - and
the world of leisure to gain!
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